The COVID-19 vaccine has been in our lives for a full year, and while it’s helped us move forward in our fight to defeat the pandemic — with just over 46% of the world being fully vaccinated — there remains a great number of people, mainly in low-income countries, who are struggling to access life-saving doses.

We made several strides in this battle against the pandemic in 2021. Our understanding of the virus and ability to detect mutations has improved, and the very fact that we have vaccines as an effective weapon against COVID-19 means that we have a fighting chance against the pandemic. Plus, it’s a huge milestone that over 8 billion vaccine doses have been administered worldwide over the course of the year.

While these positive movements towards defeating the pandemic should be applauded, vaccine nationalism and global inequality remain the largest challenges the world faces in this public health war. What’s unfortunate is that this was predicted almost a year ago, with health experts explaining that vaccine hoarding can only prolong the pandemic, and public health and world leaders calling for an equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

“Allowing the majority of the world's population to go unvaccinated will not only perpetuate needless illness and deaths and the pain of ongoing lockdowns, but also spawn new virus mutations as COVID-19 continues to spread among unprotected populations,” World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said in February.

However, despite these early warnings, not enough has been done by world leaders over the year to close the vaccine inequality divide.

Here’s a run-down of the most significant vaccine equity issues that need to be addressed for us to effectively tackle the pandemic next year.

  • Dose Sharing
  • Planning Dose Donations
  • SDR Allocation and Adequate Use of SDRs
  • Prioritising People Over Profit and Waiving Patents

Read the full article about vaccine inequity by Khanyi Mlaba at Global Citizen.